Long Beach main library in Downtown to reopen Thursday, officials say

The city will reopen the Billie Jean King Main Library in Downtown to visitors later this week with limited hours after it was closed this month due to security concerns, library officials announced Tuesday.

The library, located at Broadway and Pacific Avenue, had been open for to-go service only since Sept. 23 due to security concerns from staff members—specifically, from a recent rise in volatile incidents involving people with mental health challenges, according to library officials.

The library had to strike a balance between ensuring the safety of patrons and staff from people experiencing mental health issues in and around the facility and offering services to the public, Library Services Director Cathy De Leon said after the closure.

During the closure, Library Services officials assessed current staffing needs and conducted specialized training to learn how to more effectively manage these incidents, while city officials worked on a new facility security plan, library officials said.

The Main Library will institute a new “temporary security plan” over the next few weeks while a long-term plan is finalized, according to library officials.

A city statement issued Tuesday stressed that the libraries will continue to welcome all patrons.

“At times, some who visit the Library may have unresolved trauma, medical issues and mental health challenges that negatively impact other library patrons and staff,” the statement said. “The City will continue to develop strategies to manage these isolated events for the peace of mind of all who come through our library doors.”

The Main Library will operate on a special, limited schedule starting Thursday and running through Tuesday, Nov. 1:

Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Wednesdays, noon to 4 p.m.

Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Regular hours will resume on Wednesday, Nov. 2, library officials said.

Long Beach main library in Downtown closed due to security concerns, officials say

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Anthony Pignataro is an investigative reporter and editor for the Long Beach Post. He has close to three decades of experience in journalism leading numerous investigations and long-form journalism projects for the OC Weekly and other publications. He joined the Post in May 2021.